How to Trim a Beard Like a Pro (Updated 2019)

Spencer Bryce |

All of us Beardsmen wish we knew how to trim a beard like a master barber ourselves... Truth is...most of us don't. At least not at first. So we either fork over our hard earned cash and see a professional who may mess it up just as bad, or we attempt it ourselves which comes with a learning curve. When I first grew my beard I had NO idea how to trim a beard, and trust me I messed it up plenty of times.

In fact, a bad beard trim is the #1 mistake made by Beardsmen all around the world, and it causes many beards to be shaved off! One slip and you can lose MONTHS of growth. So if you want to learn how to trim a beard like a pro, follow these simple guidelines.

How To Trim A Beard From Home

1. Slow Down

NEVER attempt to trim any part of your beard if you are in a rush. Ever. Set aside a block of time dedicated to your trim and take it slow. You can always trim a little more length off your beard, you can't put it back on. We recommend setting 30 minutes of dedicated time if you’re just getting started. As you get more comfortable you'll be able to trim your beard in much less time.

2. Don’t Trim Your Beard When it is Wet

When your beard hairs are wet they straighten out significantly and will appear longer than they are when they’re dry. If you trim wet, when it dries it will shrink up and your beard will be uneven. Because of this, it is critical you properly dry your beard fully before considering any sort of trim.

3. Electric Beard Trimmers vs Scissors

Beard Trimming Tools

Both of these tools can get the job done, so it really comes down to personal preference and what YOU are most comfortable with. I prefer scissors as I love the control a pair of scissors provide, and recommend them if you're just getting started. Yes, it will take a little longer to trim your beard, but I think we would all agree a few extra minutes is worth saving a mistake that could take months to fix. Again, take it slow.

4. Start Small

If you are looking to take 1/2” off your beard, start by taking 1/8” off and make a couple passes. This will allow you some room for error. Like I said above, you can always take more off, you can’t add it back! 

5. Style You Beard Before You Trim

Before you trim you want to style your beard with your beard products as if you would any other day. Going through the same routine you normally do will ensure your beard is laying the way it does on a daily basis. For me I apply my beard oil and then beard butter, and comb it up (to separate the hairs) then comb it down into place. With the products in, my beard is much more manageable and thus requires the trimming of fewer hairs.

6. A Proper Neckline

***ATTENTION*** This is the single most common beard trimming mistake. Too many guys ruin their beards by trimming too high. Your jawline is NOT your neckline If you trim your beard on your jawline it will make it look like your beard shrunk and is entirely too small for your face. You want to trim your beard where your neck meets your head Here are a few examples of bad and good necklines to make this very clear.

how to trim a beard

Very bad neckline. His bottom line is much to high and his cheek line is much too low causing his beard to look much too small for his face. This will only look worse as it grows out.

how to trim a beard

Much better neckline here. Notice how it is trimmed where his neck meets his head and his cheek line is in a much more natural, higher position. His beard is much more proportionate and full. As his beard grows longer, the extra hair from his neck will be the foundation of a thick, full beard.

7. The Mustache

My general rule is: The bigger the beard, the bigger the mustache. I feel it is important for there to be balance between the mustache and the beard. However: This is absolutely subjective. Choose what YOU like. I always advise using scissors on a mustache of any length. Take your time by evening out the ends. If you want it off your lip, simply take the scissors and cut what’s resting on your upper lip.

For a shorter mustache, you can use a trimmer with a guide as an alternative. My advice is to always start with a number higher than you think you should just to be safe. 

If you're looking to grow a handlebar mustache, check this article out to get some helpful advice!

8. Where to Trim the Cheeks

how to trim a beard cheek line

Depending on how high your cheeks grow in, you may want to clean up your cheek line to create a little more of a defined beard. You want to create a line connecting your inner sideburns across to your mustache, but keep this line as high as naturally possible. A very common mistake is taking this line too low. I do not want you shrinking that beard into a chin strap so again, take your time!

9. How Often Should You Trim?

Once you have your desired shape, regular maintenance will be much easier and the required beard trimming will be minimal. Keep an eye on it and trim the strays that take away from the shape. Just remember not to overdue it. If you continually trim you’ll never add any length!

PRO TIP: Every 2 weeks is typically often enough to keep it shaped. If you’re looking to grow it out, we recommend 90 days without a trim to allow time for growth.

10. Made a Beard Trimming Mistake?

Step away from the scissors! If you’ve made a mistake, our advice is to step away. DO NOT try to fix it on the spot if you are upset. Trust me, you'll likely make it worse. Simply step away for a bit and come back once you’ve settled down. Don’t shave your entire beard because of a small mistake. Chances are most people won’t even notice. Take some Beard Boost and you’ll grow it back in no time.

See a Beard Professional

If you don’t feel confident attempting this on your own, we suggest you see a professional barber for your first big trim. He or she should know how to trim a beard...but don't walk in blindly! Do your research first! You will want to find pictures of examples of the look you are going for and be very specific with what you want them to do.

Pro Beard Barber

Lack of clear communication can lead to one of the mistakes we mentioned here even when you’re dealing with a professional. We hope you know how to trim a beard with confidence so you can save time and money, and always keep your beard on point! Whether you use our beard products or not, we are here to support you and answer any questions you might have. Whether it’s product related, styling related, or just about anything at all. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us anytime!

If you found this article helpful, hit the SHARE button so other brothers can learn how to trim a beard! As always, Live Bearded Brother!